Need printer advice.

in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
I need advice on a printer for under $200 that will be connected via USB to an AirPort router so that the entire family can use it. I would like it to have good to very good photo capability and very good BW/color printing. Also, I may do some DVD/CD label printing but probably not much. Who's best? Epson, Canon, HP? I understand that I'm not going to get an excellent printer (especially photo-wise) at this price-point but hope to find something very good/reliable at handling overall 'family/business' type printing. I don't need wireless since it will be connected to an AirPort router (IR would be nice for non WiFi phone printing though). I'm definitely open to an all-in-one printer. The extra scanning capability would be very helpful.

Any help on where to start looking is greatly appreciated.


  • Reply 1 of 9
    Double check on the scanning abilities etc via Airport, if memory serves they only work on a direct USB connection, not VIA airport, so before you spend extra cash look into that.

    Otherise I have not been in the printer market for quite some time, so I can't help you anywhere else with good up to date info.. All's I can say is whatever you do buy, do alot of test prints as soon as you get it, and if your not happy with any aspect of it, take it back right away. Wish I had done that with my 4 year old HP - the drivers for that thing are so buggy.
  • Reply 2 of 9
    Thanks for the reply and info,

    That's good to know about scanning. I guess the printer would have to be able to send info back to the Mac and the router would then need to distribute that info to the appropriate Mac. I wonder if there is a fix for that?

    I went to Staples today to checkout printers and I saw a HP 5280(?) AIO that looked good for about $150. It also handled DVD/CD printing. Are the current HP's reliable?

    Which of these brands offer the most reliability, ease of use and least cost to use (ink cartridges)?
  • Reply 3 of 9
    I have not been overly-impressed with HP printers in recent years. Heck, you don't have to look any further than today's AI headline to find a driver issue:

    On the other hand, we moved to Canon a few years back, buying an i960 and have been extremely happy with it all this time. We use it on the network, plugged directly into an Airport base station as well, so I can tell you that works perfectly.

    When it comes time to replace or upgrade it (it's already outlived my original expectations of a first-rate useful lifetime), I am 95% sure I will replace with another Canon. The ink cartridges are individual colors, which is better than otherwise, and they have a decent lifespan under normal usage. It works great with typical cheap copier paper, and their specialty paper is readily available, and very nice quality. The photos which we print are likely indistinguishable from professionally printed photos to the casual observer.

    The only thing I dislike about the i960 is that mechanism which lets you rotate a knob to swap photo paper for 8 1/2 x 11 is a bit finicky. But it's still better than not having multiple feeders!
  • Reply 4 of 9
    lundylundy Posts: 4,466member
    I would stay away from all HP printers, especially the AIOs. Mine finally died and now I can toss the @#)(#*# thing out the back door. The software stank, the thing printed 4 blank pages for no reason with every job, and the scanner wasn't recognized in PhotoShop.

    There is a nice Lexmark Z-1420 Wireless that you can get for about $80. Or other Lexmark AIOs. I checked out the drivers and they look like they were actually written for OS X rather than being Windows ports.

    Or Canon.

    HP, Epson and Brother seem to be the least favored among Mac people.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    canon works pretty good with macs. I would get an all in one printer
  • Reply 6 of 9
    regreg Posts: 832member
    A USB AIO will not work connected up to the USB port of the base station.

    Before you start, remember that base station printer sharing is for printing only, not for printer utilities or other special features that may require a direct, proprietary connection.

    If you want to use a AIO you need to get a network one that connects up to one of the basestation ethernet ports.
  • Reply 7 of 9
    I've a cheap Samsung Laser printer pluged into the airport that we uses for all the B&W printing... fast and many more pages per $ than you get with inkjet cartridges. I haven't tried their color laser printer, but it sells for about $149 around here.

    I use a cheap Lexmark for day-to-day color printing... If i want high-quality color prints from my photos (rarely) I get them online from Shutterfly.
  • Reply 8 of 9
    pevepeve Posts: 518member
    there are many cheap printers out there, but i like to pay a little more and get something good - rather then suffer all the time.

    i got an canon ip4300


    -good print quality

    -duplex printing

    -cd printing

    -pict brigde

    (and i never had a defective canon when i worked as a tech)
  • Reply 9 of 9
    Canon all the way! I dont' think you can go wrong with a Canon, regardless of which one you buy.
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